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RDLN Institute held at the University of California at Davis

Ten new RDLN Leaders participated in the RDLN Institute held at the University of California at Davis from mid-May through mid-June. Participants included four women from the Flathead Reservation in Montana, Monica Caye, Geri Hewankorn, Naida Lefthand, and Clarissa Nichols, sponsored by the Ktunanxa Community Development Corporation, who will be working on projects related to a new Town Center for the town of Elmo.

Another Indian participant is Gayle Zepeda, sponsored by the Northern Indian Housing Circle, whose project is to organize a leadership health program for Indian women in California, Hinthil Mathas Organizing for Health.

From the South came Lillie Webb, sponsored by the Community Development Center in Sparta, Georgia, whose project is to develop microenterprise efforts in Hancock County; Rose Hill, sponsored by the Coalition of Alabamians for Education Reform, whose project is to develop curricula for Black History and Economic Awareness (with a segment on farming) and work with parents to have these adopted by the public school system; and Lillie Fields, sponsored by the National Voting Rights Museum, whose project is to establish a residential facility for at-risk youth and those leaving prison.

Carol Judy, sponsored by Appalachian Community Based Education (ABCDE), will develop an outdoor mountaintop learning center as her RDLN project, showing the history of exploitation of the mountain and nearby communities, as well as demonstrating healing practices like permaculture and learning.

Edith Richardson, sponsored by the Maine Coalition for Food Security, will develop a community garden as a focus for economic awareness, policy development, and food security.

The group took part in four weeks of seminars on Economics and Economic Development, Overview of Rural Issues, Tools for Rural Development (including Organization and Management), and Sustainable Development. They took a four-day field trip and retreat to visit community groups in the Central Valley and along the coast.

The group was hosted by the Department of Human and Community Development, chaired by Michael Smith, and received support from Bill Lacy in the office of the Provost and Annie King, Associate Dean in the College of Agriculture and Environmental Sciences. Among the Instructors were Isao Fujimoto, one of the founders of the Community Studies and Development program at the University, Just Economics, Randy Ross, ABD Economics, UCD, RDLN participants, graduates and Board members Cynthia Ellis, Jack Guillebeaux, Shirley Sherrod, Carol Jorgensen, Twila Martin-Kekahbah, John Zippert, and Art Estrada.

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